Australia in West Indies, 2012

Forrest's rise continues, Beer returns

Daniel Brettig

March 14, 2012

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Peter Forrest during catching practice, Melbourne, March 1, 2012
Peter Forrest has claimed a place in Australia's Test squad © Getty Images
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Peter Forrest's rise as an Australian batsman of the future has been maintained and Michael Beer's sturdy domestic summer rewarded with their selection in the squad for three Test matches against the West Indies.

In a sign of the stability now developing around the team led by Michael Clarke, the squad was bereft of surprising or left-field choices, as the national selection panel elected to build carefully on the gains made during a 4-0 home summer drubbing of India.

As previously indicated by the national selector John Inverarity, Shaun Marsh was left out following his horrid returns against India, while Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes have lost their places as touring batsmen after struggling for runs and amid a poor season for New South Wales.

Instead, Forrest has been elevated to the Test squad, as always seemed likely after he responded to an ODI call-up with a series of clear-headed batting displays in the triangular series. Inverarity is presently en route to the West Indies, leaving the selector Rod Marsh to speak about Forrest and the team on his behalf.

"He [Forrest] looks to all of us more of a Test match player than he does a one-day player and yet he was very successful in the one-day game," Marsh said in Adelaide. "We're very very happy with what he has done this year and we just hope he progresses."

Shane Watson has returned to Test calculations for the first time since the South Africa tour in November 2011, and Inverarity indicated that he was likely to fill Marsh's vacated No. 3 batting spot.

"If Michael [Clarke] wants him to bat at number three, he'll be batting at number three," Marsh said. "We're happy for Michael to set the batting order. If I was a betting man - which I used to be - I'd probably say Shane would bat at number three.

"As a selection panel, we're of the opinion that the best batsmen can bat anywhere and Watson is a fine player, he can bat anywhere in the order."

Beer, meanwhile, kept his place as the understudy to Nathan Lyon, following a Sheffield Shield season in which he reaped 26 wickets at 26.42 from eight matches, including one haul of 7-46 against NSW. His was the best return by a domestic spinner for the summer.

"He hasn't done anything wrong, Michael," Marsh said. "He has bowled well all season. Playing as a finger spinner in Australia, there is not a hell of a lot of help for you."

Australia Test squad

  • Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Michael Beer, Ed Cowan, Peter Forrest, Brad Haddin (wk), Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner

Inverarity pointed to the naming of a 16-man squad, including Brad Haddin and Matthew Wade as two wicketkeepers, as a nod to the distance between Australia and the West Indies.

"The NSP believes the inclusion of five fast bowlers, two spinners and two wicket-keepers will provide important flexibility and cover for any injuries that may occur in a country that is not easily accessible by replacement or standby players," Inverarity said. "It is anticipated Michael Clarke will be fully recovered and take his place as Captain for the first Test match in Barbados beginning on Saturday 7 April.

"Shane Watson will come back into the Test XI and he could replace Shaun Marsh in the vitally important number three position while James Pattinson's availability will be welcomed after his excellent performances during the first four Test matches of his career during the Australian summer.

"Patrick Cummins was not considered for selection as his fitness is not well enough progressed."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by AKS286 on (March 16, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

jaques, watson, katich, ponting, clarke, voges, wade, pattinson, coulter nile, siddle, beer

Posted by 5wombats on (March 16, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (March 15 2012, 11:25 AM GMT) - you're having a laugh right? You are busy blowing your horn when all Australia have done lately is beat india. Why don't you tell us what happened when you played New Zealand? You talk about England getting turned over for 51 in West Indies 3 years ago - why don't you Go one better - why don't you list for us all the times Australia have been rolled over for sub-100 scores in the last 18 months? It's a long list.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

No Surprises here. Always at least one Ponting hater even when he scored more than enough runs. He was back to his best against India and should not be questioned now. He should be kept in the team simply because of his affect on the team. Hauratz never took wickets, even when the pitch was turning, which is why he is not there. But really there are no surprises in this team at all.

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 15, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

@Jared Hansen... Hi mate :) ... Haury has had a number of personal (private) issues that have affected his "on field" performances - as have a few other players from NSW & interstate... He needs to get over his ego problems & become a team player or accept that he isn't a Test player... Would have said the same about Clarke 12 mths ago - seems he now stays for the "team" song after winning rather than race off to be with the latest girlfriend...

Posted by Eunuchhorn on (March 15, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

I agree Jared. Hauritz is a better option than Beer as second spinner. I also reckon the fact Hussey, Ponting and Clarke came to the fore during the test summer is not only due to experience but also temperament. Patience in a crisis rather than trying to blast their way out. Of all the young batsmen blooded in the last year or two only Khawaja has shown that discipline. He was unlucky with a couple of dismissals including a run out and showed courage at a time when the team was down, and never got a chance when they were on top and the going much easier. He will be back. Warner is an incredible talent but yet to show the consistency needed to be a genuine test opener. Watson is a classic all rounder and should only ever bat at 6, especially if Warner opens - there's simply not enough grit at the top otherwise. Cowan has grit but not sure if he has enough class. Khawaja has both... And also interesting this whole discussion seems to be about batsmen (me included).

Posted by   on (March 15, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

I'm disappointed that Beer has leapfrogged Hauritz at some stage. Haurie was one of our most consistent performers whilst the team was in its worst shape.

Posted by RoJayao on (March 15, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

I don't know, don't many of the posters here actually watch or follow the cricket, at all?! Just unbelievably uninformed! It is a good squad, not great but it's the best of the moment. Forrest HAS had a good season and IS in form. Ditto Cowan. Ditto Beer. Marsh, Khawaja and Ferguson have NOT had good seasons, and definitely do not deserve a spot. The previous Aussie selectors did the whole "picking guys on reputation or potential, forget form thing", how'd that go by the way? Oh that's right, those selectors got the sack! Now the same posters who bagged those selectors mercilessly, and rightly, are advocating the same selection policies!! Instead of being negative nellies, rejoice in the names that weren't picked that could be future Australian players. Cutting, Coulter-Nile, Holland, Cooper, Quiney, Cummins, Bird, Burns etc. If they can all follow one good season with another, just try and stop us SA, England et al!

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 15, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@landl47 :- "This side (Oz) is good enough for the WI, but SA and England are a different story"... Good to see you at to your sarcastic best or just another bad hair day :P ... England got bowled out for 51 in their last tour to WI's & lost the 5 Test series... lol... Oz drew their away tour to SA a few mths ago & also managed a series win against SL in SL - blow your horn when you have performed better than Oz did in both Tests & ODI's in the subcontinent recently...

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 15, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

@landl - welcome back, we missed you during the Pakistan series.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Why isn't Steve Smith in the team I think he should be captain

From Kieran (this is just my dads account)

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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